15 February 2013

Add Buttons and Buttonholes

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Now comes a particularly monumental stage of making the Mathilde blouse – sewing on the buttonholes and buttons! You’ll be able to do the blouse up, y’all!

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Before you start stitching, double check the placement of the buttonholes. The buttonholes go on the right back opening and the buttons go on the left back opening. (My pattern cutting teacher once told me the mnemonic, "Women’s clothing does up right over left, because women are always right." Totally sexist, admittedly, but I remembered it!)

If the buttonhole markings have rubbed off your fabric, get your pattern out and mark them on again. Line up the edge of the opening with the "fold line" marked on the pattern, and position the top edge of the pattern 15mm (5/8in) above the neckline to account for seam allowance.

Right, now let's get stitching...

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Stitch the buttonholes on the right back opening. Depending on what sewing machine you have, you'll probably do either a four-step buttonhole if it's manual, or a one-step automatic wizzy one if it's computerised. Read about sewing one-step buttonholes, or take our Sew Your Own Shirt or Shirt Dress workshop if you'd like to watch the process for both in videos and get lots of helpful tips and tricks :)

Open up the buttonholes carefully with a seam ripper. To avoid ripping right through them, make an incision in one end, gently rip towards the centre, then do the same in the other direction.

Place the right back opening over the left one as if you were doing the blouse up, then pin in place. Push the tip of a chalk pencil or washable pen through the buttonhole to mark on the button position, 3mm (1/8in) down from the top, to mark the button positions on the left back opening with a little dot. It's best to mark the buttons here rather than in the centre of the buttonhole, as buttons will naturally want to pull towards the top of vertical buttonholes.

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Sew the buttons on by hand, centring them over the little dots you just marked. Tip: If you find yourself frustrated by your thread knotting up, invest in some thread wax which will keep things gliding along more smoothly.

Et voila! It's starting to look like a blouse now!

Catch up on the rest of the Mathilde blouse sewalong.

PS. Want some more help sewing buttonholes? Sign up to our online workshop, Sew Your Own Shirt or Shirt Dress, to watch up-close-and-personal sewing videos with tons of tips and tricks!

8 comments:

  1. Your Mathilde tutorials (like all your tutorials in fact) are so beautifully clear and well photographed.

    Love your nail polish too!

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  2. I'm weird in that I prefer putting any and all sleeves in flat rather than set them in, so my sleeves go in and then the side seam of both is stitched up before I do any buttons/buttonholes...

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    1. Ah yes, just replied your comment on my other post about that...

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  3. Haha! I love the little quip about how to remember which way the buttons go, nice and easy to remember, LOL!

    I read somewhere that you should put a pin in the end of the buttonhole if you plan to use your seam ripper on it--that way you can't go too far. But I really like the little chisels; line it up, smack it, done! :-)

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    1. That's a good idea. There is something so satisfying about ripping through those stitches!

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  4. I prefer sewing buttons on by machine. You don't need any special feet or equipment and it takes a fraction of the time. They're a lot longer lasting too. A buttonhole foot is nice, but not necessary. You also can remove snap on foot and use the bare ankle to hold the button in place. If you can drop feed dogs, do, then set machine for zig zag. Take a few manual stitches to make sure the clearance between holes is enough. Then pedal to the medal. If feed dogs don't drop...no problem. Just set stitch length to zero and use zig zag.

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  5. Hello Tilly! Thank you for such a wonderful site full of info! A few months ago, I picked up my little old Singer I'd bought years ago but never used and it's been love and sewing obsession ever since. So considering myself to be on a novice/intermediate sew..sewer…seamstress border, I decided to make a chiffon Mathilde! Why not? Well, I'm discovering why not never having worked with chiffon. I'm loving the blouse and it's "character" already nonetheless. :)
    I wanted to give a heads up that the buttonhole link above for Make isn't working. http://makezine.com/craft/sewing_101_buttonholes/ is the one you're referring to, I hope.
    Thanks again!! xo

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